Category Archives: Mexican

Cooking Scrapbook – Mom & Lauren’s Tostada

Based on my past history of delayed flights, I was all worried about being delayed again last night.  Turns out, we completed our audit earlier than expected and I was able to switch to an earlier flight for free and I was able to get home nearly 3 hours early.  Score! 🙂

Having been gone for several days, I knew I didn’t have too much in the fridge for dinner so I resorted to an all-time favorite.


The easiest tostada ever!  My mom and I used to make these for lunch quite often when I lived at home.

tostada 2

We are convinced there is a touch of Mexican blood in us somewhere.  Both of us love Mexican! A longgggg time ago, I remember Taco Bell being ‘our spot’ when my brother and dad weren’t around for dinner.

tostada 3

I know, Taco Bell isn’t exactly the best Mexican food out there, but there was something about those little dates together eating our shared love for tostadas and bean burritos… definitely a cherished memory! 🙂

So when we weren’t at Taco Bell, we often assembled these tasty little tostadas and so, for obvious reasons, they made the cut in the Family Secrets section of the cooking scrapbook.

mom and lauren's easy microwave mexican tostada

mom & lauren's tostada recipe





Spread salsa, black beans, corn and shredded cheese over a tortilla.

tostada layers

Microwave until cheese is melted and top with lettuce, tomatoes, and hot sauce (optional for you, not optional for me! 😉 )

tostada 5

Easy as 1-2-3!

Note:  since the tostada is heated in the microwave, the tortilla does not get crispy, so it is a knife-and-fork kinda meal.  I would not recommend trying to pick it up!


Cooking Scrapbook – Mexican Flank Steak

Can you believe today is the last day of May?  This year is flying by!

I don’t know if its the crummy weather this week or what but I have been feeling really tired lately.  So tired, in fact, that I was too lazy for anything other than cereal last night for dinner and I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30.  Yep, I’m a party animal.

honey nut medley crunch

Side note – have you tried this new cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch?  It tastes like a combination of Honey Bunches of Oats and obviously Honey Nut Cheerios.  Very good!

Cooking Scrapbook Recipe


Last weekend, Dave and I grilled flank steak on the grill using a favorite family recipe for the marinade, which I included in my mom’s cooking scrapbook.

cooking scrapbook flank steak recipe

I’m sure this marinade would work well on just about any cut of steak or perhaps another type of meat, but I just love the way this tastes using the flank steak.

Mexican Flank Steak


2 lb flank steak

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tbls vinegar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp Tabasco sauce (or more to taste)

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp chili powder

1 garlic clove, minced


1.  Combine all ingredients (except steak) into a ziplog bag.  (I used a bowl to help keep the bag open.)

flank steak marinade

2.  Add flank steak and make sure the marinade gets evenly distributed over the entire steak.  Let marinade for about 2 hours on the counter to bring the meat to room temperature.

flank steak marinating

3.  Cook on the grill until meat is at desired ‘doneness’.  Let steak rest for about 10-15 minutes before slicing on a diagonal.

flank steakA couple of things to note:

  • I recommend the steak to be cut at a sharper angle than what the above picture shows. This was my first time slicing it since my dad wasn’t here to do it for me. 😉
  • After only 2 hours of marinating, the steak is chocked full of flavor.  According to my mom, I would highly suggest not letting it marinade overnight as the flavor ends up almost too powerful.

Hope you have a wonderful Friday!

Southwestern Zucchini & Bean Saute

Who is glad it’s Friday?

I can’t even tell you how excited I am that this work week is almost over.  It’s been a longgggg past few days.  The downside is I’ll be busy catching up on my online class that I’ve been putting off for, ohhh let’s see, the last 5 weeks!

E Cards - School Procrastination Homework

Oh how I wish this was the case!  I have only ever taken one other online class and I thought it was a breeze!  Looking back, however, I’m realizing it was because I had an assignment or quiz due every week which helped keep me right on track.  BUT the current class I’m enrolled in has an incredibly loose structure.  Basically, we just have to finish all the assignments, papers, quizzes, tests, etc. on our own time by the end of the semester.

To tell ya the truth, after last semester being incredibly stressful, it felt great to take several weeks off but now I’m definitely regretting my decision.

nothing makes me more productive than the last minute 1

The only thing going for me is that I work well under pressure.  And trust me, I’m down to the wire. School will be my life for the next several weeks.  😦

With all that being said, let’s lighten the mood with a recipe, shall we?

Southwestern Zucchini & Bean Saute

southwestern zucchini and bean saute 6

Although I didn’t follow a recipe and just threw together a few ingredients, this veggie packed bowl came together surprisingly well.

southwestern zucchini and bean saute 8

In addition to the pinto beans, I scooped a heaping spoonful of plain Greek yogurt to amp up the protein, but I bet it would be delicious with some ground turkey or sliced sausage as well.

southwestern zucchini and bean saute 7b


Cooking spray or olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 zucchinis, halved lengthwise and then sliced

4 medium tomatoes, diced

1 cup of frozen fire-roasted corn (can use regular too)

1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp salt

Cilantro, chopped (optional)

Plain Greek yogurt (optional)


Saute the diced onion with a little olive oil or cooking spray over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes before adding the zucchini.  Cook for another 4-5 minutes until zucchini is tender crisp and add tomatoes.  Continue to move the veggies around the pan while they cook until desired “doneness”.  Mix in corn, pinto beans, and spices (through salt) until corn and beans are heated through.

southwestern zucchini and bean saute 1

Scoop into bowls and garnish with cilantro and yogurt (or sour cream) if desired.

southwestern zucchini and bean saute 5

southwester zucchini and bean saute 4

Hope you have a stressfree, relaxing weekend!!

Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas – CPC #7

Can you believe it’s Monday?  Ughh this weekend went by way too quickly.

It’s no fair!  Hmmff…

Alright fine, I’ll act my age now.

After the girls headed back home yesterday, Mac and I took a longgg 2 hour nap while Dave was out at a go-kart racing charity event.  I was in desperate need of some extra zzz’s so it felt fantastic!  I woke up much more energized, cleaned up the rest of the house, and took a walk with Mac while the sun set.  Not too bad.

In order to free up time and not have to worry about doing too much cooking while the girls were over on Saturday, I decided to try fajitas in the crock pot.

chicken fajitas

I’d say they turned out pretty tasty, especially considering the amount of time I spent on prepping – a whopping 5 or 6 minutes.

chicken fajitas 4

Four different colors of bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, green), onion, chicken breasts and jarred salsa all layered in the crock pot for fast, hands-free cooking!

chicken fajitas 32

Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas


1 tbls olive oil

1 large onion, halved and cut into thin slices

4 bell peppers, seeded and cut into thin slices

2 lbs chicken breasts

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup prepared salsa, divided


1.  Place oil, onion, peppers and chicken broth at the bottom of the crock pot.  Add chicken breasts on top and pour a small amount (about 1/4 cup) over the top surface of the breasts.

2.  Set crock pot to low and cook for about 4-5 hours or until chicken breasts are cooked through and the onions and peppers have softened up.

3.  Remove chicken breasts and slice in strips.

4.  Carefully pour out most of the liquid.  Add back chicken strips and remaining salsa and stir to combine.

chicken fajitas2

This is delicious just on it’s own but I chose to serve in soft corn tortillas and a sprinkle of Mexican blend shredded cheese.


Mexi Girls Night

Yesterday was a go-go-go kinda day!  From the moment I woke up, I knew I had a lot to accomplish before the girls arrived for Mexi night.


This guy probably had other plans in mind.


If dogs could talk, I know Mac would have begged to hit the snooze alarm a few more times so we could snuggle all morning.  Unfortunately, I had to dive straight into my to-do list and knock out a good workout, errands, and a little bit of cleaning around the house.


By mid morning, those puppy dog eyes were just longing for attention, and luckily I did save some time to take Mac for a nice long walk…


…although apparently not enough time to change out of my workout capris so I’m crossing my fingers none of the neighbors saw my killer outfit?!

Mexi Girls Night

Darcy, Lauren and Cassie came over around 3 pm and got the fiesta started with some yummy apps.

thumbs up

Tostidos Hint of Lime tortilla chips (<— unbelievably tasty and addicting) dipped in queso, salsa and guacamole, as well as more of Cassie’s cookies n cream popcorn.  And just to keep in classy, champagne to wash it all down! 😉


The queso dip turned out to be a hit!  Extremely easy to make too.

Queso Dip:  In a saucepan, combine 1 1/4 lb white american cheese, 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, and 2 small cans of diced green chilis.  Heat over low heat stirring frequently until the cheese is completely melted.  

girls night2

A few hours later, Ashley and Katie joined us and with everyone’s help, we cooked up a fabulous Mexican dinner and broke in our new dining room table.


Crock pot chicken fajitas, ground beef tacos, refried beans, and Mexican rice.  Delish!


With full bellies, we continued our Mexican fiesta into the night and maybe got a tiny bit silly but enjoyed every single second of it!

ladies man

Of course, Mac Daddy had to steal everyone’s attention for awhile.  Such a ladies man!

sleepy mac

The night went by in a flash and before I knew it, it was time to call it a night.

Life. Is. Good.

Chipotle Burrito Bowls

Okayyy so how obvious was it this post was on the horizon?  I have been dying to share this burrito bowl on here but I had to get the recipes out there first.

I mean, c’mon, look at this deliciousness.

Chipotle Burrito Bowl

Copy cat chipotle burrito bowl, barbacoa beef style.  There are lots of layers going on here:

burrito bowl

Believe it or not, this bowl came together rather fast.  Once I had the beef in the crock pot, I only spent 5 minutes or less preparing/shredding it after it was cooked.

Cilantro-Corn Salsa –  less than 10 minutes.

Two-Minute Guacamole – umm, I think you can figure that out 😉

And the longest part was probably cooking the rice, but pre-cooked brown rice is always an option to save even more time.  I opted for the long way but I started right when I walked in the door after work so when I was ready to eat, it came together in a flash in one big assembly line.

burrito bowl 2

And you bet I had seconds!!

Happy Friday!


Spicy Barbacoa Shredded Beef – CPC #2

Just wanted to pop in between work and class to share some randomness, as well as another Mexican recipe… but this time in the crock pot!


1.  Amy emailed me this video yesterday:

This little boy is so darn cute!  It made me smile so I thought I’d pass it along.

2.  One of the blogs I follow is Marc and Angel Hack Life.  It’s a very positive, uplifting blog covering various topics about life, self improvement, relationships, etc.  If you have a few spare minutes some day, you should check it out.  I just love the positive messages!

Spicy Barbacoa Shredded Beef

Okay, moving on to another crock pot challenge recipe!  This is only #2 so far in this little challenge… 8 more to go.  And let’s see, I only have 4 weeks left.  Hmmm looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me…

spicy beef

Spicy Barbacoa Shredded Beef


Juice of 2 limes

8 cloves of garlic, peeled

1/2 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (approx 2 peppers, plus sauce)

1/2 red onion

Large handful of cilantro

1/2 tbls oregano

1/2 tbls cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 bay leaves

1 8 oz can of chicken broth

3 lb beef chuck roast


1.  Combine first 10 ingredients, through apple cider vinegar, in a food processor.  Process until smooth.

2.  Place beef, chicken broth, and bay leaves in the crock pot.  Pour chipotle mixture directly on top of the beef.

3.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

4.  Test with a fork to ensure beef shreds very easily.  If so, scoop the layer of chipotle mixture off the top of the meat.

5.  Shred beef with 2 forks and mix with remaining liquid.  Taste test the beef for spiciness.  If desired, add back some of the chipotle sauce.

spicy barbacoa shredded beef crock pot

This stuff is excellent!  It was extremely juicy and flavorful, not dried out at all.  To be honest, I tried this recipe with a much leaner cut of beef.  I think it was a beef eye of round roast or maybe something similar, but either way it was a BIG FAT FAIL.  I tried shredding it once it had slow cooked for several hours and it could not have been any tougher.  Yuck.  Oh well, you live and you learn.  Bottom line is don’t skimp on the fat, you can always skim it off later once it’s cooked.

So I ate this plain, stuffed it in little tacos and also included in my lunch salad.

barbacoa beef salad 2

Since I kept the spiciness level down pretty low, I bet the leftovers would even tasted phenomenal in a beef barley soup… perhaps a crock pot beef soup? 😉